Technology in AFL

The world of sports is continually changing over the years, and the increasing use of technology is just one of those areas that has made an impact on many sports. The use of technology in Australian Rules Football is increasing and has the potential to have a great impact on the sport.



Goal Line Technology

The other popular football code, soccer, has been using goal line technology for quite a while, but has been slow to implement it at the elite level. Whether a ball has crossed over a goal line in both codes can have a great impact on the result of a game, and spectators expect that the right decisions are being made. With so many cameras following the ball in AFL games when a goal umpire makes a mistake, it is usually clear for all to see.

A video review system for goal umpires was trialed during the previous two NAB Cup competitions before being introduced for the start of the 2012 AFL season. The system provides an extra set of eyes with the score reviewer sitting in front of a television screen in the umpire's box, who can adjudicate if called upon in consultation with the relevant goal, boundary and field umpire.

A review can only be called by an umpire, not a player or coach as in some other sports. If the available vision still proves to be inconclusive, the decision will be referred back to the umpire on the field.

One criticism of such systems is that it slows down the game. During the trials for the AFL, they found it took on average 49 seconds for a decision following a referral, which is not much to wait for the right decision.

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"AFL Edge" - Goal Post Technology

Not unlike cricket's 'Snickometer', the 'AFL Edge' system is a score review technology that can determine if the ball touches the goal post. It was first used at AFL venues in 2019. The system uses a microphone embedded in the goal post. The resultant  audio feed is synchronized with video to help the score review official to adjudge if the ball brushes the goalpost.

Other uses of Technology in Australian Football

Technology has been well used in the area of fitness training and game analysis for many years. It is not uncommon for players to wear heart rate monitors in training and games to monitor their fitness and heart rate response to the game situation. The use of GPS is also widespread - players are wearing units that track their every move, which the coaching staff can later analyze.



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